4G broadband to arrive on UK rail network from 2015

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High-speed 4G broadband will be fully in use on sections of Britain’s rail network in 2019 under new plans announced by ministers.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that ’70 per cent of the travelling public’ will eventually have access to the high-speed connection, with some areas set to benefit as early as 2015.

Network Rail has said that excess bandwidth from the GSM-R/FTN upgrade will be used to deliver the new 4G connection.

Although Network Rail will deliver the required trackside infrastructure, individual train operators will need to supply and install the new onboard systems.

McLoughlin said: “There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal.

“Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality.”

Network Rail is currently in talks to find a mobile network operator interested in the project.

Ofcom is currently running a consultation on the use of Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (ESOMP) over the current slower FSS networks – a system that involves fixing an antenna to a fast moving vehicle, such as a train, that is accurate enough to track a satellite.


  1. Seems strange that for some to get anything approaching high speed broadband in the UK, they need to jump on a train travelling at up to 125 mph…

  2. Meanwhile the new Federal Government in Australia is taking steps to retreat from a full fibre optic to the door system for a hybrid arrangement using existing and ageing copper. Big country, thinking small; and don’t say anything about the Victorian era railways in Oz!


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